Inmates Running the Asylum

President Obama invited 10 columnists to the White House for a one hour meeting. One of those columnists, DeWayne Wickham, wrote an opinion piece titled “What’s at stake in midterm elections” after that meeting. His analysis starts out being pretty straight forward, republicans are trying to make the election about Obama. No arguments so far. Then columnist Wickham delves into stereotypes, innuendo and repeats the false narrative of secret money buying the election. It’s not true – but why let a good lie go to waste? Today’s Wall Street Journal has some facts that Wickham may wish to mull over in their piece The Biggest Election Myths of 2010.

Here’s a key fact of 2010: The biggest political spender of this cycle is, as usual, a union (the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, at $90 million). Another overlooked fact: Democrats are floating in money. A recent study by the nonpartisan Center for the Responsive Politics reports that Democrats in competitive districts have raised 47% more than Republicans and spent 66% more. They’re losing for lack of credibility, not dollars.


The real problem for Obama supporters is an energized tea party movement that has sprung up across the nation. It has energized anti-Obama sentiment, even among independents. Most tea parties are first-time political activists, so the fact that such a powerful, organic movement came to be as a direct result of President Obama’s policies (and to a lesser extent President Bush’s Tarp) has to be worrisome. Wickham doesn’t want to have a conversation about the role of government and why Obama’s policies have turned so many 2008 Obama supporters into former supporters. That would require admitting that the Obama administration’s issues aren’t about messaging, corporate money, or republican obstructionism. Instead the author gives us this jewel;


They are buoyed in this effort by those on the rabid fringe of the right wing who chant: “I want my country back,” as if slaves have taken over the plantation. And they are financed to a great degree by right-wing donors who pour money — much of it untraceable — into the GOP coffers.


Let me offer a different analogy, one that is more accurate than the backhanded sleight Wickham utilizes and more honest than his “untraceable” money narrative. The truth of the matter is that most American’s feel that the inmates are running the asylum. What else can you say about a group of people that promise the opposite of what they do while piling on mountains of debt?

President Obama:

  • Promised transparency, but gave us backroom deals.
  • Promised to reach across the aisle and whose idea of “working with republicans” is to tell them “I won”.
  • Promised civility and a new tone but dresses down the Supreme Court during the State of the Union address.
  • Talks about getting away from the tired politics of race, and then urges latino voters to “punish our enemies”
  • Famously used the analogy of using a scalpel to cut the budget, this year there is no budget and 1.2 trillion in debt
  • Promised that spending nearly 1 trillion dollars would prevent unemployment from going over 8%

The Democratic Congress:

  • Promised to “drain the swamp” and remove corruption but gave us Charlie Rangel, Chris Dodd, Barnie Frank, & Maxine Waters.
  • Played political hardball and cut such outlandish backroom deals that they would make an organized crime family blush.
  • Decried the influence of money in politics and then put together the disclose act which allowed their friends to contribute as much as they wanted.
  • Screamed about “republican obstructionism” when they had a super majority in Congress.
  • Lectured America on “responsibility” while passing bills so large that most hadn’t read or knew what was in them
  • Wrote a stimulus bill that spent nearly 1 trillion dollars and now justifies that failure with the made up statistic “jobs saved or created”.


Wickham’s piece is nothing new and typical fare from Obama supporters. Most supportive editorials repeat democratic talking points and attempt to malign the tea party as racist and extremist. The part that Wickham get’s right, and that most left leaning outlets are avoiding, is that Obama’s presidency is at stake in this election. This mid-term election is less about local issues than it is about the direction of the country. Obama campaigned nationally as a centrist candidate in 2008, but has governed as a leftist. What we are seeing in the electorate is a sharp U-Turn. Most Americans are alarmed by the direction the country is going and by the debt that is being heaped upon us. Is calling for fiscal sanity really the “rabid fringe” of America? Only for true believers like Wickham.


Promises unkept and unfulfilled by a party and president that was given unprecedented power has given rise to an electorate that is screaming “I want my country back”. On November 2, 2010 the American people will take a big step toward fiscal sanity. It is a small but important step in taking the country back from the leaders that didn’t deliver.


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